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April 30, 2006

New Journals on Alternatives and Choices

Two new journals provide articles on alternatives and choice:J ed alternatives.gif


The Journal of Educational Alternatives edited by Nathaniel Hosley at Lock Haven University "attempts to bring together, in thought and action, administrators, teachers, social workers, psychologists, parents, researchers and practitioners for the universal reform of education."

J sch choice.jpgThe Journal of School Choice edited by Stephen Rollin at Florida State University (retired) and Judith Stein at Nova Southeastern University "is entirely dedicated to policy, research, and the history of school choice and related issues."

Both are peer-refereed journals focusing on K-12 education unlike, for example, On the Horizon, which addresses higher education reform.

Both are welcome additions to the literature of learning alternatives and signify the greater interest and growth of educational alternatives.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2006

Schools, 50 Years From Now?

Kuokkala school.jpgKenneth R. Stevenson in a thoughtful essay, "Educational Facilities within the Context of a Changing 21st Century America" describes eight trends that will shape educational programs and facilities in the coming half-century. He concludes: "Such centers would provide traditional educational experiences, but also would serve as neighborhood hubs for preventive health care, recreational/social activities, meals for the elderly and needy, development of avocational interests, and retooling for new job opportunities. From an educational facilities perspective, if schools can be made to be true neighborhood community centers, the likelihood the general public will support taxing itself for new schools and/or renovation of existing ones will be enhanced greatly. And the wonderful thing is, the actual cost of such centers will vary little from the expense of building the structure for traditional educational purposes. Through careful design such spaces as music and art rooms, the health/nurse’s room, the cafeteria and library, the computer and science labs, general classrooms, and the outdoor play and recreational fields can be shared. The key is breaking down the old bureaucratic/societal perspective that schools are only for children. Policymakers and community leaders can play a critical role in changing this mentality." He provides a valuable reference list.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

2006 Homeschooling Report

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The latest survey, Homeschooling in the U.S., 2003, published in February, 2006 by the National Center for Education Statistics shows race, income and parental educational attainment of homeschooling families. It compares homeschoolers with students in public and private schools and changes between the former study in 1999. The number of homeschool students grew from 850,000 or 1.7% in 1999 of the school-age population to 1,100,000 or 2.2% in 2003, a 29% increase. The percentage of homeshooled White students exceeded Black and Hispanic students.

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Parents were asked which one of the applicable reasons they considered to be their most important reason for homeschooling—31 percent of homeschooled children had parents who cited concern about the environment of other schools, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure, as the most important reason for homeschooling and 30 percent had parents who said the most important reason was to provide religious or moral instruction. While these were the two most common responses, another 16 percent of homeschooled students had parents who said dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools was their most important reason for homeschooling.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2006

Schools for the 21st Century

A striking new report, "Results That Matter: 21st Century Skills and Child's eye.jpgHigh School Reform," by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills advances a daring program of change for American high schools. This readable and colorful 24 page document states that "...even if every high school in the country achieved these goals [mastery of traditional subjects] high school graduates would remain woefully lacking in preparation for the world." The report contains brief lists of 21st century skills and knowledge such as: global awareness, civic literacy, entrepreneurial literacy, health awareness, problem solving, collaboration, information technology, and life skills.

The Partnership has three companion reports at its site and seeks the association of other advocates for change.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

Portfolio of Schools

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A promising development in offering a choice of diverse school models by districts could be promoted by a "portfolio of schools." The portfolio or an array of school choices could include conventional schools, of course, but also offer parents and students online learning, magnet schools (health careers emphasis, for example), charter schools, a Montessori school, a high technology model, etc. Paul Hill promotes this approach in a 19 page Report, Put Learning First published by the Progressive Policy Institute. Hill describes how a district would change its administration, training, accountability and other practices to implement the approach. Already, a number of districts have a good start on this concept. Education Week has a good summary article, "Portfolio Idea Gaining Favor in Some Cities."

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)